JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – An emergency order was sent down by the Arkansas Insurance Commission for the suspension of a Jonesboro insurance agent's license.
According to that emergency suspension order, Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford suspended the license of John Ward. Ward operated an office at 1325 Stone St. in Jonesboro.
Bradford handed down his ruling based on evidence that suggested Ward received cash payments for policies from customers and never sent those payments to Farmers Insurance Company, where he was an agent.
Ward's Arkansas Resident Producer License was suspended and he was scheduled to appear in an administrative hearing on June 19, 2014, which has been postponed.
According to the suspension order, AID Criminal Investigator Sam Green got an email in early May "regarding a consumer's policies being paid for but never issued."
During the investigation, Green reportedly learned that Ward was getting paid in cash for policies, but Ward never send the money to Farmers, according to the suspension order.
On May 13, 2014, Green searched Ward's office and found "numerous consumers" were victimized.
One of those alleged victims contacted Region 8 News, stating their problems with ward arose after paying the closing costs of their home.
Though the victim wished to remain anonymous, they told Region 8 News "the title company wrote him a check for 1 year of premiums of her home owners insurance."
The victim went on to explain that they later received a letter stating their insurance coverage had lapsed.
The victim said their bank began look into the issue and allegedly learned that "he [Ward] deposited the check for about $900 and only paid 3 months of the premiums."
Region 8 News reached out to the Arkansas Insurance Commission, who said they could not confirm or deny the investigation.
They did, however, tell Region 8 News that a commissioner can order an emergency license suspension as long as they immediately set the hearing as well. In a normal license suspension, notice is given and a hearing is set before the license is suspended.
The emergency order stated Ward's license must be immediately suspended for the health, safety and welfare of Arkansas residents.
Region 8 News attempted contacting John Ward by phone. After leaving a voicemail, our call was never returned.
After reaching out to Farmers Insurance numerous times, they also failed to provide a statement regarding the situation.
If you believe you are a victim, visit the criminal investigation division section of the Arkansas Insurance Commission's website to report suspected fraud.